Power of attorney protocols

Ellie wants to know the protocols around appointing powers of attorney. Estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich offers his advice.

 

Q. Ellie
We are a married couple with one married daughter and two grandchildren. When making a power of attorney document, should I nominate my husband and daughter to act on my behalf? And should my husband name me and my daughter to act on his behalf?

Would this document still be legal if either of us was incapacitated and both our names and our daughter’s name were on the document?

A. Commonly, couples first nominate each other as their sole attorney, and then name their child – in this case, your daughter – or children as back-up if the spouse can’t do the job due to illness or death.

For those who do appoint their children, it’s recommended that you appoint them jointly so that they can share the burden and also keep an eye on each other to minimise the chances of abuse of powers. 

Joint appointments can cause inconvenience if, for some reason, it’s hard for the attorneys to communicate. Some recommend using a solicitor, accountant or professional friend to minimise the chance of an attorney misusing his/her powers and using your money for unauthorised purposes. The downside of this is that they would charge a fee for the work they do.

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, email it to [email protected]

 

Disclaimer: This information has been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.

 

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